The Royal Game of Ur

Winterwell is a camping festival in the Cotswolds and has steadily grown in size for the last 4 years. As well as the usual features that might be expected of a summer festival – music, mud, alcohol etc. – there’s also a strong tradition of thematic “subversive theatre” and gaming. The theme for 2011 was “boardgames”.

As part of a larger immersive narrative orchestrated by The Tom Sawyer Effect, we ran an experimental team-based challenge deep in the nearby woods. Our game, the mood-setter, was something of an Eighties-child homage to classic quest shows like Knightmare, Crystal Maze and The Adventure Game, with perhaps also a smidgen of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade thrown in for good measure. As we hoped, when we explained the rules to the participants they responded with a mix of glassy-eyed nostalgia and childish enthusiasm.

We used our prototype wireless video transmitter-receiver unit (a proof of concept model from an ongoing project) and integrated walkie-talkies as a bridge between the participants and their team-mates. The player wore a helmet that blocked their vision, but the mounted camera gave their friends a first-person-view of the environment.

Team-mates instructed the player around a puzzle maze in the shape of The Royal Game of Ur (the oldest known board game), matching clues with what they saw through the screen.

 


 

Client:
Winterwell Festival

Partners:
The Tom Sawyer Effect – Event organiser

HLP_mock_up
The Playable City
mands_head-1613-2
Marks and Spencer
swingvote-1255(2)
Design Museum
IMAGE1
Unbox Festival
8588205605_44903897fe_b
Wilfred Bagshaw
the_brain-5
La Gaite Lyrique
Screen shot 2012-09-23 at 18.44.31
The Law Society
m&s-0940
Marks & Spencer
Screen shot 2012-03-05 at 10.33.42
Pan Project
thiswayup2-3247
British Council
EEG_seance
Tom Sawyer Effect
image6
Open Draw
Immersive Reading Room
Hodder & Stoughton
The Experience Value of Risk
Anti-Design Festival